TASKED with winning all their remaining Northern Counties East League premier division games, Tadcaster Albion know form can crash through the proverbial window tonight.
Albion play host to Pickering Town at Ings Lane, where a large crowd is expected for the derby duel, which kicks off at 7.45pm.
The Pikes will still be smarting from their inexplicable FA Vase exit to Billingham Synthonia on Saturday, while Albion – 2-0 conquerors of Nostell Miners Welfare – are in the thick of a run of surging form which has taken them to the coat-tails Bridlington Town, the NCEL top tier pace-setters.
Said Albion boss Paul Marshall: “We will be the slight favourites on current form, but as everyone knows that can be written off for a derby game.
“The thing is there are so many players who know each other from the York area – we must have ten or 11 players in our squad from York – that they will all be trying to put one over the other.
“I know Jimmy (Reid the Pikes boss) from working with him a while ago and we talk to each other quite regularly.
“But I have told our lads that to put pressure on Bridlington, who have opened up a little gap and have games in hand, then we have to win every one of our league matches between now and the end of the season. Really, draws are no good.
“It’s a massive game for us if we want to be pressing for the title.”
The Albion boss has been buoyed by the return to his best form of midfielder Nick Thompson.
“When he starts chugging through from midfield he is a powerful force to try to stop, and in that way he has won two penalties for us in our last two games,” said the Albion manager.
Marshall’s counterpart Reid cast an envious eye to tonight’s opponents, hailing the progress of Albion and likening their current position to where he wants his Pikes to be.
But still downcast at the sloppy manner in which a 1-0 lead with 15 minutes to go against Billingham was frittered away to lose 3-2, Reid said that his impending one-year anniversary back in charge of Pickering may well prompt a significant overhaul.
“It was a big blow to us to have lost in the FA Vase and especially in the way we lost the tie after being so comfortable,” said Reid.
“We have someone like Liam Salt scoring goals regularly and others chipping in with their contributions, but that’s not been enough.
“I’m now coming up to a year in charge and it might be time for me to sit down with the rest of my staff and see where we go.
“It may be we will let go of some of the players and get some new blood in to try to build a team for next season.”